Of note: In this document, the terms “child,” “parent,” “caregiver,” and “guardian” also include “children,” “parents,” “caregivers,” and “guardians”, respectively, where the plural is appropriate.



The term Aboriginal is “a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: Indians (commonly referred to as First Nations), Métis and Inuit. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs” (AANDC, 2013).


A child in need of protection under CFSA sections 37(2) (a), (c), (e), (f), (f.1), or (h), as defined in the CFSA s.72.1(2).

Activities (within a service plan)

Specific, measurable actions or services designed to move family members toward their service plan objectives.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A prescribed method of ADR as set out in O.Reg.494/06.

Anti-oppression Approach

An approach to “anti-oppression can be defined as the lens through which one understands how ‘race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, ability, age, class, occupation and social service usage,’ (AOR, p. 2) can result in systemic inequalities for particular groups” (OACAS, August 2010).



A First Nation community established as a Band under the Indian Act.


Case Consultation

A one-on-one conversation between the worker and supervisor that involves a full or partial review of factors regarding a case or situation that results in a collaborative case decision.

Case Review

A one-on-one conversation that usually involves the worker describing to the supervisor the major events and factors regarding a case or situation, and specifically the information that led to casework decisions.

Change in Family Circumstance

An alteration to, or modification of, the situation in which the family normally exists. Examples:

Child Abuse Register

The Register maintained by the Ministry Director as per s. 75 of the CFSA. The Child Abuse Register contains information reported by societies about verified child abuse. It includes the names of the child and the abuser (registered person), certain demographic data regarding the child and the registered person, information concerning the abuse incident(s), and action taken on behalf of the child.

Child-Focused Family-Centered Practice

Practices that support the safety, permanency, and well-being of children while meeting the needs of their families.

Child's Community

Child Protection Worker

As defined in s.37(1) of the CFSA, “a Director, a local director or a person authorized by a Director or local director for the purposes of section 40 (commencing child protection proceedings).”

Clinical Supervision

Regularly scheduled and private meetings between the worker and the supervisor, which focus on the actions and decisions of the worker and the worker’s application of knowledge, skill, method and instruments to assess, treat, and reduce the risk of child maltreatment in providing services to clients.

Closed Case

A child protection case in which termination documentation has been approved by the supervisor and that has subsequently been closed on the electronic database.

Community Caregiver

Anyone providing care to a child in an out-of-home setting. For the purposes of these standards, there are two categories of community caregivers:

Community Caregivers in Family-Based, Out-of-Home Settings

Any child care setting that is within the context of a family, such as:

Community Caregivers in Institutional Out-of-Home Settings

Any non-family-based setting such as:

Community Link

A Community Link is a referral disposition that a CAS can choose for families who do not require child protection services but who may benefit from other services available in their community. For cases requiring a community link:

Concurrent Planning

With respect to children placed in out-of-home care, concurrent planning refers to the process of working with a family toward reunification, while simultaneously establishing an alternative permanent plan for the child. Parents are actively encouraged and assisted in working toward reunification, but the worker is also engaged in activities that establish a suitable permanent family for a child in the event that the goal of reunification is not achieved. Activities related to both plans are accomplished by the worker simultaneously, not sequentially.


The circumstances or state of being in which the family currently exists.


Events or situations perceived as intolerably difficult which exceed an individual’s available resources and coping mechanisms (James and Gilliand, 2005).


Differential Response

Differential response is a method of service delivery – a system of alternatives/options determined by the type and severity of maltreatment. Differential response provides two possible approaches of investigations; traditional and customized. A traditional forensic investigation is used for extremely severe situations and a less adversarial, more customized response is used for moderate and lower severity situations. Differential response models emphasize a stronger reliance on extended family and community service supports (e.g. a widening of the family’s circle of support).

Domestic Violence

Refers to violence between partners or a parent/caregiver and his/her partner. While it is recognized that partner violence can occur where men are the victims and in same sex relationships, overwhelmingly, women are most often the victims of violence. A gender-based analysis of violence in an intimate relationship is required to understand the relationships between men and women, their access to resources, their activities, and the constraints they face relative to one another (OACAS, 2010). A gender based analysis considers the differential risks and impacts of domestic violence based on gender. These risks and impacts may be compounded when gender intersects with other social factors such as race, ethnicity, culture, class, age, and disability. It is important in understanding the different patterns of involvement, participation, behaviour and activities that women and men have in economic, legal, and political structures (CIDA, 2009). The United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as, “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (UN General Assembly, 2006).


Extended Family

Persons to whom a child is related by blood, through a spousal relationship or through adoption and, in the case of a child who is an Indian or Native person, includes any member of the child's Band or Native community (CFSA, s.3 (1)).

Electronic Database

When referenced in this document, electronic database means the electronic case management system the CAS is using for child protection services.

Eligibility Spectrum

The Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum (OACAS, 2016).


Family Centered Conferencing

Techniques for family-centred conferencing can take a variety of forms such as conferences led by the child protection worker or a neutral facilitator, aboriginal healing traditions, and talking circles. The commonality between all techniques is that the conferencing approach encourages active and meaningful participation of families and their support system in case planning and when service decisions are being made. The approach comes from the stance that families are “experts” in knowing what interventions will be most supportive to them and that individuals within a family have strengths upon which they can draw as they work toward positive change that will influence and improve child safety as well as the family’s overall well-being.

First Nation

The term First Nation refers to an Indian Band or Native community under the CFSA; “Indian” and “Native” are terms used in the CFSA.

Formal Customary Care

The care and supervision of an Indian or Native child by a person who is not the child’s parent according to the custom of the child’s Band or Native community (CFSA s.208). In accordance with the Permanency Funding Guidelines (CW 001-07), a customary care subsidy is paid by the CAS to the customary caregiver where:

  1. a CAS determines that an Indian or Native child is in need of protection and cannot remain with his or her parent(s);
  2. there is a Formal Customary Care declaration by the Band of either parent;
  3. the CAS supervises the placement pursuant to the Band declaration;
  4. a Customary Care Agreement is in place; and
  5. foster care licensing and standards apply.



A goal articulates in broad terms, the desired child welfare outcome for safety, permanency and well-being. The case objectives and activities that are the components of the service plan are directed at achieving particular case goals.



A verification decision made at the conclusion of an investigation that, based on the balance of probabilities, it is not possible to conclude that the originally alleged or new child protection concerns (including harm or risk of harm) were more likely than not to have occurred or to currently exist. This decision is made when critical information necessary for establishing the probability that harm or risk of harm occurred or did not occur, cannot be obtained. As a result, a lack of information makes it impossible to establish on a balance of probabilities that child protection concerns are verified or not.

Indian or Native

The terms Indian and Native appear in this document in accordance with their meanings under the CFSA and as required under the legislation.


Not Verified

A verification decision made at the conclusion of an investigation that, based on the balance of probabilities, it is not “more probable than not” that the originally alleged or new child protection concerns (including harm or risk of harm) have occurred or currently exist.



An objective is more specific than a goal and describes how a goal will be achieved in more detail. An objective should:


The term off-Reserve is “a term used to describe people, services or objects that are not part of a reserve, but relate to First Nations” (AANDC, 2012).

Out-of-Home Care

Out-of-home settings are situations where the child is being cared for by a substitute caregiver outside of his or her usual place of residence.


Permanency Planning

Permanency planning is a broad term used to refer to activities undertaken by the worker with the goal of enhancing permanency and stability for children receiving child protection services from CASs. “Knowing and having faith in the predictability of their caregiver[s] allows children and youth the emotional connection necessary for them to feel accepted and loved” (MCYS, 2005). Permanency planning is undertaken simultaneously with all other child protection service activities and includes the following activities:

Protective Capacities

Factors or resources within the family that can or do promote the child’s safety.

Protective factors are grouped into three general categories: individual characteristics, family characteristics, and supportive significant others.

Protective Factors

Circumstances or people that lessen the danger to the child (e.g. person who is suspected of endangering the child is out of the home; parent was not previously aware of concerns and is now prepared to protect the child; there is another person who will protect the child).

Provincial Database

When referenced in this document, provincial database means the Fast Track Information System, or any other provincial database identified by way of statute or regulation.



A referral is any report or information received by a CAS from any source (e.g. a child, a community member, the police), and through any method (e.g. by phone, in person, in writing) that a child is or may be in need of protection.

Relative (with respect to a child)

A person who is the child's grandparent, great-uncle, great-aunt, uncle or aunt, whether by blood, through a spousal relationship or through adoption (CFSA, s.3 (1)).


Reserve is a term used to refer to a “tract of land, the legal title to which is held by the Crown, set apart for the use and benefit of an Indian band” (AANDC, 2012).


The capacity to readily recover from a shock, depression, or negative circumstances.


An estimation of the likelihood of future child maltreatment due to family characteristics, behaviour or functioning and/or environmental conditions. Risk of maltreatment exists on a continuum from low to high risk. Some risk of maltreatment is present in every family even if it is very low. Child protection services are required when the risk of future maltreatment is more likely than not.


Safety Plan

Where safety threats are identified through a safety assessment, the worker considers what interventions are needed to resolve the identified safety threats or to mitigate them sufficiently in order to allow each child to remain safely in the home. After considering the immediate safety threats and the possible interventions, a safety plan is developed which is both a discussion (e.g. with the family or institution and any relevant collaterals) and a description of the safety interventions implemented to resolve the identified safety threats.

Service Plan

The service plan is the link between assessment and intervention. It is an action plan that guides the family, child protection worker, other service providers and all casework activities toward well-defined goals and outcomes against which progress can be measured over time. The service plan minimally contains:


Severity refers to the level of severity of the child protection concern (incident or condition) as outlined in the Eligibility Spectrum. There are four levels of severity: Extremely Severe, Moderately Severe, Minimally Severe and Not Severe.


Temporary Care Agreement

A voluntary agreement made under s. 29(1) of the CFSA whereby a person who is temporarily unable to care adequately for a child in his or her custody, and the society having jurisdiction where the person resides, make a written agreement for the society’s care and custody of the child.

Transfer of Worker

A new or different worker is assigned by the CAS to assume responsibility for management of the family’s case on an ongoing basis.



A verification decision made at the conclusion of an investigation that, based on the balance of probabilities, it is more probable than not that the originally alleged or new child protection concerns (including harm or risk of harm) have occurred or currently exist.


The degree to which the child is susceptible to suffering more severe consequences as a result of risk of child maltreatment is based on:


Warrant for Access to Records at CFSA s. 74.1

“The court or justice of the peace may issue a warrant for access to a record or a specified part of it if the court or justice of the peace is satisfied on the basis of information on oath from a Director or a person designated by a society that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the record or part of the record is relevant to investigate an allegation that a child is or may be in need of protection” (CFSA s.74.1). CASs are permitted by CFSA s. 74.2 to seek a tele-warrant for access to a record.